Butuan, the oldest Philippine settlement and the Balangays


Butuan National Museum Photo Credit – paolobon140

Before there was Philippines, there was already Butuan, a formal settlement along the banks of Agusan River which maybe the site of the oldest human settlement in the Philippines. Being an archipelago, the Philippines from the beginning is a seafaring nation. Because of Butuan’s location, the Butuanos were skilled boat builders and expert seafarers.

Being located on the coast of Mindanao, balangays were often docking at Butuan Bay keeping good commercial relations between the local people of Butuan and traders from the neighboring Srivijaya and Majapahit empires and neighboring islands in Southeast Asia. Various goods, including the statue of Avalokiteśvara and the Golden Tara of Butuan, were traded across Maritime Southeast Asia as evidenced by the discovery of a four-pound, eight-inch tall, 21-carat gold Buddhist figurine believed to belong to the Sailendra Period of the Srivijaya empire. The Filipinos traveled across Southeast Asia reaching as far…

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